Meralco import Gani Lawal fakes off Columbian counterpart Kyle Barone with Dyip forward Russell Escoto, left, and Bolts gunner Nico Salva looking on.
Jun Mendoza
Lawal ‘20-20’ game helps Bolts past Dyip
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - May 25, 2019 - 12:00am

Games today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

4:30 p.m. – NorthPort vs NLEX

6:45 p.m. – TNT vs Alaska

MANILA, Philippines — Gani Lawal turned in a 25-point,  27-rebound performance and got sufficient support from the local crew as Meralco cruised to its maiden win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, a 101-92 triumph over Columbian Dyip last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Lawal provided a steady presence under the boards but didn’t have to do it all as Baser Amer (21), Trevis Jackson (17), Chris Newsome (12) and Cliff Hodge (10) stepped up to do their share in helping the Bolts rebound from their 90-94 overtime loss to Blackwater last Sunday.

“It’s always good to get that first win under your belt,” said Meralco coach Norman Black, whose wards got their second wind after squandering leads that reached as high as 17 and sealed the deal with a 17-9 windup.

“We lost a really tough game the last time out in overtime, even had the chance to win in regulation, but just couldn’t make the shot. But today, we played a lot better offensively and defensively and played team ball and that helped us win this game,” he added.

Unlike in their previous outing, Lawal completely bought in to Meralco’s spread-the-wealth offensive approach and it worked wonders, according to Black.

“I was able to convince Gani he does have decent shooters so when he draws the double-team, triple team in the post, he can move the ball out and his teammates can help him win the game,” said Black of Lawal, who had two assists. 

Later in the night, Rayray Parks dished out a career-game of 28 markers spiked by 10 points in extra period as Blackwater scored a 108-107 overtime stunner over defending champion Barangay Ginebra to take the solo lead at 2-0. 

Parks hit two booming treys, a transition layup and two charities as he helped the Elite complete the come-from-behind victory that already matched their two-win output in the previous conference and spoiled the debut of the Gin Kings.

Notes: After losing their opening game with Curtis Washington in tow, the NLEX Road Warriors decided to sign up their first-choice import, Tony Mitchell, and activate him in time for their match-up with NorthPort today....“We feel he (Mitchell) is a better fit,” coach Yeng Guiao said of the 6-foot-8 Mitchell, who played for Star Hotshots in 2017. “He’s played here in the Philippines before and he knows the style so the adjustment period is very short.”

The scores: 

First Game

Meralco 101 – Lawal 25, Amer 21, Jackson 17, Newsome 12, Hodge 10, Hugnatan 5, Tolomia 4, Pinto 3, De Ocampo 2, Salva 2, Faundo 0, Caram 0, Jamito 0, Quinto 0.

Columbian 92 – Barone 26, Perez 22, McCarthy 13, Cahilig 11, Corpuz 11, Khobuntin 3, Agovida 3, Reyes 2, Calvo 1, Faundo 0, Camson 0, Celda 0, Escoto 0, Tabi 0.

Quarterscores: 23-18, 50-35, 79-71, 101-92

Second Game

Blackwater 108 – Parks 28, Stepheson 28, Belo 20, Digregorio 12, Maliksi 11, Sumang 5, Cortez 2, Tratter 2, Sena 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Alolino 0, Desiderio 0. 

Ginebra 107 – Brownlee 44, Slaughter 24, Tenorio 8, Dela Cruz 8, Chan 7, Thompson 7, Aguilar 3, Caperal 2, Mariano 2, Ferrer 2, Teodoro 0, Mercado 0.

Quarterscores: 25-22, 46-47, 70-79, 94-94, 108-107

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